Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Time We Bought A House From 2500 Miles Away (And A Quick Tour)

For most people, their home is the single biggest investment they will ever make.  We are those people.  For this reason, buying a house that we had never seen in person before from across the country made for one stressful summer.  This was definitely one of the craziest things we have ever done, and here is how it all went down.

When we decided to move to Atlanta, we had no plans to go back for a visit.  We had originally found a house we really liked while there to see family and made an offer, but we lost it.  However, it lit a fire under us to move.  My mother was getting older and needed some help.  We were so far away. We had always talked about moving back east someday, and it became clear to us that someday was now.

The house buying process was not an easy one.  There were offers that were not accepted, properties that didn't appraise for asking prices, and problems uncovered in inspections.  We had to rely heavily on my family to look at the listings we were interested in and take detailed pictures and videos to send to us. My husband and I each had a list of things we wanted this house to have.  We had always talked about our first house being our five year house (we lived there for seven and a half years).  This was to be our forever home.  This time, we knew exactly what we were looking for.

It had to have some land and some privacy.  We didn't want to be able to wave at our neighbors in their dining room from our office window anymore.  It had to have a kitchen that we could both work in at the same time.  A big yard for the dogs.  More space for storage.  A garage with a workspace.  A bathroom with a double-vanity.  It had to have an in-law unit.

We decided to make this move in mid-May, and on September first, we started our journey across the country.  We had purchased our forever home, and we had never even seen it in person.  When we finally did get to see it, I took these pictures on my iPhone (sorry the quality isn't better).  Luckily, we were not disappointed.

 The first thing we fell in love with (via pictures) was the coffered ceilings in the living room.  OK, so this was not something on our must have list, but it was beautiful.  

I am a sucker for built-ins.

We loved all the open space.  The living room area is actually called a great room, with the built-ins on one side and fireplace on the other. I have no idea how to furnish a space this big.

It opens up into one side of the deck.

This is the view outside of the front door.  Hello privacy!

We wanted a large formal dining room for family get-togethers.  This room definitely needs a chandelier with a bit more bling.

A kitchen with an island was on both of our lists.  

There are cute details like these decorative tiles on the deck.

There is a bonus room which is perfect for our home office.

The master bedroom has a large walk-in closet (you can guess whose list that one was on).

And a beautiful double-vanity and separate tub and shower.

We absolutely love our new home, and have so many plans for the future.  For now, we are still in the process of unpacking and getting settled.  I hope to share more about the things we end up doing to make this place our own.  I have a feeling this will be a work in process for years to come.  

Friday, September 11, 2015

On The Road Again

Last week my little family of five spent a moderately epic week driving across the country. This is what we looked like the night before we left.  Not nearly as ready as we should have been.  We grossly underestimated how long it would take us to pack up our small house. As it turns out, not having a lot of square footage has nothing to do with just how much stuff you own.  

We packed well into the night, got up early the next day to pack some more, and tried to get on the road by 1 pm.  I am sure you know how this story goes.  We needed to be out of the house no later than 5 pm so the new owners could take ownership.  We didn't wrap up until 7:30.  We were panicked and tired and probably a little bit stinky. This is the last shot I took in front of our house, ready to embark on our cross-country trip.

Somewhere around Needles, CA.  I felt like we were driving into a painting.

This was a tunnel on a road that went to somewhere.  I would love to go back one day an see where it leads.

We passed through a lot of wind farms, especially in California and Texas.

We listened to a book to keep us occupied during the long hours on the road.  We also had the steady soundtrack of Meatball and Petunia snoring in the back seat.

We spent the night in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.  I got to see the original London Bridge.  I have now crossed over both of them (mark that item off the bucket list).

Beautiful desert scenery in Tucumcari, New Mexico.

I was still trying to stay on top of my day job at night.  Harriet was ready to take a letter for me.  

Into the great wide open, in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Taking some time out to do a little readjustment.  If you haven't ever tried to find a patch of grass in the desert for your three suburban gravel and sand loathing dogs to poop on, you really haven't lived.

Crossing over the mighty Mississippi River into Memphis.

After a long day on the road, Meatball likes to unwind with a chewie and something random on the hotel tv.

I had to take a picture of the price of gas in Alabama.  Being from California, I would call this a bit of a reverse sticker shock.  I had no idea gas prices were so low in some parts of the country.  

Driving through Cordova, Alabama.

Are we there yet?

The last leg of our journey.  We finally made it to Atlanta, and the beginning of our next adventure. Now we just need to close on our new house. Our pod won't be here for a while, which gives us some time to explore our new town.  I haven't lived here in fifteen years, so I need to learn how to get around again, what the fun things to explore are, and how to get to Costco (we are going to need a lot of paper towels).  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Best Laid Plans

I have found that planning out my goals in four month increments seems to work best for me at this stage of my life.  I break them out into January through April, May through August, and September through December.  I type up my list on pretty paper and check things off once they are completed, usually using a cute sticker to mark my accomplishment. I try to list common items together, because I find it easier to tackle common items together.   I hang my list somewhere that I will see it every day as a visual reminder.  This is a sample shot from a list I put together for last summer.

When I originally drafted my goals for this summer, we weren't planning on moving back to the east coast.  It was something my husband and I had always talked about doing one day.  We traveled back East in May to visit family, and decided that our someday was now.  We started looking at houses and making offers.  We didn't get the houses.  We listed our house in California.  It sold in a weekend.  I put in a transfer with my job. There was no turning back.  We were committed.  My husband was denied his transfer.  Our house was sold.  Time was moving forward, and so were we.  We needed a place to live. Our summer felt like a blur.  It was filled with open houses and staging furniture and sending in documents to our mortgage company.  There were moving boxes and bubble wrap and packing up a Pod until the early hours of the morning.

Here we are at the end of our summer.  My husband traded in his zippy muscle car.  We now have an SUV filled with three dogs, towing a trailer, and driving us across the country.  This is the last picture I will ever take in front of our California house.  We don't live there anymore. Our goals now include closing on a new house, husband finding a new job, and getting all of our stuff across the country as un-broken as possible. In five days we will be there.  Updates will follow.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

My So-Called Instagram Life

I can't believe that I won't be living in Northern California anymore.  Packing and prepping for our cross- country adventure has been crazy.  This is what have been up to in our final weeks on the west coast!

Our Ron Burgundy doll (complete with glass of Scotch) is making the trip with us.  He just wanted to be on our Instagram feed.

Petunia's tongue is like a fruit roll-up.

We spent some time in San Francisco's Chinatown, shopping and exploring.

Petunia got a pretty new (Star Wars) dress.

The girls pretended the liked each other.

I had a bacon wrapped grilled peach with bleu cheese.  It was amazing.

I found a chicken crossing the road in front of my house one morning.  It was confusing.  So many questions.

They are concerned about where my husband went (to the store).  They are just concerned separately.

We also spent a little time exploring (and shopping in) Japantown in the city.  I may or may not now own three teapots.

I wasn't expecting watermelon flavored yogurt to be good but this really was.  Kind of like a watermelon Jolly Rancher.

Amazing how our entire life can fit  into this.

We were cleaning out the garage, and the girls found their car seat.  They were snuggling, but separately.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Work Week In Scottsdale, AZ

It goes without saying, Arizona in August is hot.  This is the second year in a row that I have attended a conference and training for my job in Scottsdale in the summertime.  It came a week before we had to pack up and move across the country, so it wasn't the best timing, but I must admit, it was a nice break from the chaos.  Arizona is beautiful, and I took a little time to take it all in.

The view from my hotel room, with Camelback Mountain in the background.

Bunnies everywhere, with little cotton tails.
I found this guy on the wall near my room.   He camouflaged so well with the wall, I wasn't sure he was an actual scorpion at first.
I don't know what these desert plants with the curly stands coming off of them are called, but I want one.
I spent some downtime here.
The cacti reminded me of little pin cushions.
Don't go!!
I found a beautiful old well in the backyard of my room.
Kinda phallic, don't ya think?
You know you want to pick this little gem up for your kids!

I'm Erin

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Hi, I am Erin. Transplanted east coaster, living on the left coast. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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